Ever since it rose to popularity, most YouTube users have been hampered by one pretty major restriction: the dreaded time limit, which limits how long your videos can be. For years it stood at 10 minutes, then in July YouTube bumped it up to 15 minutes. The reasons for the limit were obvious: YouTube needed a way to prevent people from throwing up television shows and movies that they didn’t have the rights to, and the time limit afforded a pretty easy way to do that. But today, YouTube is announcing that it’s removing the limit entirely for some users.
At this point it’s unclear just how many users are having the time limit removed — YouTube says that it’s going to “begin allowing selected users with a history of complying with the YouTube Community Guidelines and our copyright rules to upload videos that are longer than 15 minutes.” That’s pretty vague, so we’ve reached out to YouTube for a little more clarity. But it probably boils down to this: YouTube will be rolling this out slowly, and it will only be doing this for established accounts.
The new feature has been a long time coming, and it’s made possible by YouTube’s Content ID system. Content ID is a pretty incredible set of technology — it can take any new video uploaded to the site and match it against YouTube’s massive archive of copyrighted video that’s been submitted by cable networks, movie studios, and other partners. That’s not a new concept, but the speed and scale that YouTube does this at is sort of ridiculous (remember, the site gets 35 hours of footage uploaded per minute).
Note that YouTube has also allowed content partners to upload longer videos for some time now, but that program isn’t open to all users.